Half a Century of a United Jerusalem

Dr. Joseph Frager,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Dr. Joseph Frager
The writer is a leading American pro-Israel activist who sponsors and coordinates many Zionist events. He is clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology & Liver Diseases) at the Einstein School of Medicine as well as a practicing physician.

Yehuda Halevi (1085-1141) who was a physician and a Rabbi said it best, "My heart is in the East, and I am at the ends of the West."

It has been one of my greatest privileges to work with Ateret Cohanim and Mati Dan HaKohen these past 32 years ( I started in 1985- Mati founded the organization in 1978).

Jerusalem was liberated on June 7, 1967 but through the work of Ateret Cohanim the city has truly become united. The pillar of Ateret Cohanim and Jerusalem was Dr. Irving Moskowitz Z'L who brought the dreams of millions of Jews through the millennia to fruition. Dr. Moskowitz Z'L had incredible vision. He showed the way. His beloved wife, Cherna, and family are carrying on. In addition, Matthew Miller and family (Koren Publishing) are following the Moskowitz family lead.

In America, Joe Mermelstein Z'L was a tremendous force. Uzi Narkiss Z'L who was the head of central command and who I had the privilege of getting to know said on the day Jerusalem was liberated in 1967, "The wall was before us. I trembled. There it was as I had known it-immense, mighty in all its splendor... overcome I bowed my head in silence." From that day on Yerushalayim has been transformed. This year also marks the 150th year since Mark Twain visited Israel and stayed in the Mediterranean Hotel which is now called the Wittenberg Hoiuse and owned by Ateret Cohanim. Recently, a beautiful story was brought to light when Mark Twain's archives were opened 100 years after he passed away. Mark Twain was looking for a souvenir to send his mother from his travels in Israel.

He wrote, "fix up the little Bible I selected. Put on it this inscription. "Mrs. Jane Clemens-from her son-Mount Calvary, Sept. 24, 1867". Put "Jerusalem" around it loose somewhere in Hebrew." Indeed, Mark Twain's Bible was inscribed "Yerushalayim" in Hebrew. Mark Twain would be proud of the work  Ateret Cohanim has done.

I have wittnessed the many miracles that have brought us to celebrate Yerushalayim's 50th Anniversary since its reunification. Whether it was the move into Neot David in 1990, the purchase of Bet Hatzalam for the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva in 1995 (I was told Hamas was going to purchase the house if we did not raise the necessary funds by August 1, 1995), the work on the Western Wall Tunnels, the renovation of the Ohel Yitzchok synagogue in 2008, the work on the Kotel Kattan and so much more. A book could be written about each accomplishment of Ateret Cohanim (I am sure this will happen some day).

The renovation of Yemenite Village, is now in progress. It will some day look like the renovation of the Churva Synagogue that Ateret Cohanim had a hand in. The Churva Synagogue stood until 2010 as a shell of its former self. It is one of the many achievements that have taken place in the past 50 years. Ateret Cohanim has been at the cutting edge. The next 50 years should see Yerushalayim brought back to its former splendor and glory.